Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sweet & Sour Chicken

To be honest, Chinese food is a tough one for me to replicate.

Or, should I say replicate well.

I feel like it's always better from a restaurant, so I usually steer clear of it altogether.

But a couple weeks ago, we had a break in the heat and I guess was feeling bold - so I decided to try my hand at making this chicken.

And oh my goodness.

The coating.  The frying.  The baking.

Sweet mother of chicken madness.

This dish seriously took me half the evening to make.

At the time, Mr. Vittles was helping my brother-in-law Nick Vittles change the tires on his truck (among other things that I can't even name).  They started tinkering about the same time I started cooking, so I figured they'd be ready to eat when dinner was done.

When the chicken came out of the oven, it looked good - but given my track record, I didn't know what to expect. 

I popped a hot, sticky niblet in my mouth and ... it was amazing. 

Barely able to contain my excitement, I set out the pan, along with some jasmine rice and sauteed snow peas with sesame, and leaned out the window.  "Dinner's ready!" I called.


Then, "We're not ready yet.  Be there in a bit."

And... I went from flying high to crashing in a fiery wreck.  After all that work, I sat down to eat this ALONE.

Well not entirely alone, if you count the Real Housewives of New York...

"Bethenny, could you pass the snow peas?  Kelly, would you care for a Xanax with your chicken?"

It was downright depressing.

But, as promised, the guys came in about half an hour later - and even cold, said it tasted pretty incredible.

So if you want to try this recipe, learn from my mistakes.

Wait for an evening not only when you have lots of time, but also when your dinner partners are ready to chow down at a moment's notice :)

Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced – about 6-8 minutes.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 comment:

  1. There's a much easier recipe that I have used for years. I got it from a Chinese recipe packet that my mom bought when she was getting in touch with her Chinese side but never used much. I no longer have the cards but it is similar to yours but no baking in the oven. I don't have the exact measurements and when I do it, it is usually to taste. Here goes and I hope you will enjoy it.

    Sweet and Sour Chicken (or pork or shrimp)
    Boneless chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
    Corn starch
    1 egg
    Black pepper
    Cooking oil

    Red and green peppers
    Diced or sliced carrots
    Cooking oil

    Tomato paste (the original recipe called for ketchup)
    Brown sugar
    corn starch
    Juice from one 16 oz can pineapple chunks or slices. Save the pineapple.
    Soy sauce, about one tablespoon

    Saute vegetables in oil until onions are translucent. Drain and put aside.

    Beat egg and add cornstarch and black pepper. Coat chicken. Depending on how much chicken you are making, you can use more than one egg.
    Fry chicken until cooked. Put aside on paper towels to drain.

    In a 2 qt sauce pan, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Hint, to prevent the cornstarch from clumping, mix in a small amount of water and stir until smooth. Taste as you add the sugar and vinegar. You should get a definite sweet followed by tart taste. On a medium flame, bring to a gentle boil then stir until the sauce thickens and coats your spoon. Continue to cook if you want a thicker sauce.

    In a casserole, mix together the chicken and vegetables, pour sauce over and gently fold in your pineapple chunks until everything is evenly mixed.

    If you want a more flavorful chicken, gently season with garlic powder and or Chinese five spice seasoning.

    Serve over rice and vegetables. Jin


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